BRP: consumers expect quick access to products and most retailers respond by offering same day delivery

According to the 2017 Digital Commerce Survey, Autonomous Fulfillment is the Next Step in Delivery as Self-driving Vehicles and Helper Robots Become More Prevalent

Boston, MA, 2017-Sep-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — According to a new report from BRP, consumers expect quick access to products and most retailers are now responding by offering same day delivery. Currently, 51% of retailers indicate they offer same day delivery, up from 16% last year, and within two years 65% plan to offer this service. Delivery via a third party service, such as Uber or Lyft has also increased (from 20% last year to 32% this year) as retailers look at different ways to offer customers the flexibility to shop, purchase and receive their goods on their own terms.

“With Amazon offering same day delivery in some markets, the push is on for retailers to get items delivered to customers as soon as possible,” said Jeffrey Neville, vice president at BRP. “Autonomous delivery and distribution are the next step with self-driving vehicles soon a reality and a few food delivery start-ups already testing the concept.”

Consumer behavior and mobile technology are dramatically changing the traditional retail model. Amazon continues to disrupt retail as it delves deeper into brick-and-mortar with the acquisition of Whole Foods. Meanwhile, bankruptcies and store closures make daily headlines, as the phrase ‘retail apocalypse’ becomes the topic of many conversations. These developments dictate retailers’ necessity to adapt to the new customer journey to accommodate the blurred lines of retail and innovative methods of shopping driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment methods. To succeed, retailers may need to reinvent themselves to create an effective blend of the physical and digital worlds to maintain customer loyalty.

BRP conducted the 2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey to understand the current retail challenges and the available opportunities for retailers as they face the future of retail. The key customer imperatives are:

  • Personal – Combining behavioral, historical and customer profile data empowers retailers to deliver tailored and relevant content to meet customers’ individual needs. 38% of retailers indicate that improving personalization is a top digital customer experience priority.
  • Ubiquitous – Customer expectations for a personalized, seamless experience require retailers to  follow customers’ journeys as they research and shop from anywhere. 49% of retailers will offer customers the ability to ‘start anywhere, finish anywhere’ within five years.
  • Unified – Retailers’ technology, processes and organization need to be unified and aligned across channels to offer a seamless and consistent customer experience. 54% of retailers indicate that creating a consistent brand experience across channels is a top priority.

To download the complete 2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey, visit: https://brpconsulting.com/2017-digital-commerce-survey/.

The 2017 Customer Experience/ Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey platinum sponsor is Manhattan Associates and the gold sponsors are ECRSMi9 RetailNCR, and Radial.

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit http://www.brpconsulting.com.

Source: BRP

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay: retailers would work “tirelessly” to achieve tax reform without shifting the burden to consumers

WASHINGTON, 2017-Jun-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in an interview today (June 21, 2017) on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co. that retailers would work “tirelessly” to achieve tax reform that lowers rates without shifting the burden to consumers.

Regarding House Speaker Paul Ryan’s speech on tax reform the day before, Shay said, “The Speaker made very clear that there is more than one way to get this done….I think that is encouraging. That is a sign that he and Chairman Brady and others are being responsive to the concerns they have heard and the recognition the politics of this, it just doesn’t make sense to do tax reform by imposing a $1700 tax on American families.”

To watch the full interview, click here.

The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and NRF has led the retail industry in advocating for comprehensive tax reform that would broaden the tax base and lower the rate. Retail benefits from few of the tax breaks that lower tax bills for other industries, and most retail companies pay at or close to the full 35 percent rate.

TRANSCRIPT
Fox Business Network
Varney & Co. – Matt Shay Interview
June 21, 2017
http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/5478892341001/?#sp=show-clips

STUART VARNEY: House Speaker Paul Ryan outlined his tax reform plan yesterday. He barely mentioned the so-called border adjustment tax. National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay is here with us now. Alright, Matt, take a victory lap because you killed it. You killed the border tax.

NRF PRESIDENT AND CEO MATTHEW SHAY: Nice to be with you, Stuart. Glad to be here today. I think that the speech Speaker Ryan gave yesterday and the outline that he provided to that audience was something that would resonate very well with our members, would be very popular with the retail industry. He said a lot of things with which we agree and that makes the point, that we have been in agreement with the Speaker on the need for tax reform for a long time and we have one disagreement over one element and the fact he didn’t mention that element yesterday is encouraging to all of us.

VARNEY: Your disagreement is purely about the border adjustment tax and that is the way of paying for this tax reform. If you take away the border adjustment tax would you be okay with substituting a consumption tax like a gas tax?

SHAY: I think a consumption tax and a gas tax would be received very differently depending on which industries you are talking about because they will have different impacts. But I think the point here is that the Speaker made very clear that there is more than one way to get this done and the fact that he acknowledged there’s a way to do tax reform, and said, for reference, we have a proposal here in the House but there are many ways to get this done, I think that is encouraging. That is a sign that he and Chairman Brady and others are being responsive to the concerns they have heard and the recognition the politics of this, it just doesn’t make sense to do tax reform by imposing a $1700 tax on American families.

VARNEY: I came on strong at the beginning of the interview trying to press you, and say, ‘look, it’s dead.’ You killed it, you did it. I think I am right, whether you killed it or not doesn’t matter. I think it is dead and you are not going to give me an argument.

SHAY: We have heard the Senate – sort of up and down the line – from Republican members of the Senate express a lot of discomfort with this. There is not any enthusiasm in the Senate for this to go anywhere. You heard Secretary Steve Mnuchin at Treasury, you’ve heard Gary Cohen at the White House make public statements about their displeasure with this particular approach, so I think this is a positive development. I think there is a long way to go, as Speaker Ryan pointed out, and it is not going to be over until we get there. And we need to get there and I think we should be very clear on this. We will be just as vocal in support of a plan that doesn’t contain the border adjustment tax as we have been vocal about one that does. We are big champions for reform. We pay the highest rate of any industry in the country, we want to get this done and we will be out there tirelessly working to get tax reform across the finish line.

VARNEY: Okay, Matt, we’ll delay your victory lap for a couple days but after that you really have to come back to take a victory lap because you really did kill it.

SHAY: Victory is when we get tax reform done because it’s good for the American people and good for this country and that will be a victory for all of us.

About NRF
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Contact:
Robin Roberts
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

Retailers Urge Congress To Help Save Consumers Billions With Swipe Fee Reform

WASHINGTON, 2017-Apr-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation and retailers from across the country went to Capitol Hill today (April 26, 2017) as Congress held a hearing on legislation that would repeal debit card swipe fee reform, telling lawmakers that reform has saved merchants and consumers more than $40 billion and should be protected.

“Debit card reform has been a remarkable success,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “It has saved retailers and their customers billions of dollars and it has brought the beginnings of transparency and competition to a market where swipe fees were price-fixed and all banks linked arms to charge the same high fees. If reform is repealed, the big banks will go back to those practices, and nothing will stop them from setting these fees as high as they like and driving up prices paid by consumers in the process.”

“This has been settled law for the better part of a decade,” Duncan said. “We should be looking at the future of payments rather than trying to re-legislate this important consumer protection and vital step forward for fair market competition.”

The House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing this morning on the Financial Choice Act, legislation sponsored by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would repeal debit swipe fee reform as part of a larger rollback of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

No retailers were invited to testify at the hearing despite the issue’s impact on the industry. But dozens of retailers are in Washington today for a fly-in organized by NRF and other retail groups to lobby against repeal and many attended the session. In addition, NRF submitted a statement for the record and is running digital ads and circulating petitions addressing consumer benefits, competition and retailers’ concerns that urge Congress to preserve debit card reform.

This morning, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the namesake sponsor of debit swipe fee reform in the Senate, and Representative Peter Welch, D-Vt., the measure’s chief backer in the House, spoke before retailers over breakfast.

Debit reform was enacted as part of Dodd-Frank in response to the card industry’s practice of price-fixing the debit card “swipe” fees banks charge merchants to process transactions. The fees previously averaged 1-2 percent of the purchase amount, and virtually all banks that issue cards charged the same.

Under reform regulations that took effect in October 2011, large banks are limited to 22 cents per transaction, down from about 45 cents in the past. The limit saved retailers about $8.5 billion in the first year alone, with close to $6 billion of the savings passed along to consumers, according to a study by economist Robert Shapiro. Banks that set the fees competitively and independently are exempt from the limit, but virtually none have done so. Banks with under $10 billion in assets are also exempt.

The savings has been particularly important to small retailers, who say the fees are among their highest expenses.

A survey conducted for NRF last year found that 89 percent of consumers said the limit should remain in place. In addition, 84 percent said swipe fees should be set on a competitive basis rather than letting card companies set price-fixed fees.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF.com

Contact:
J. Craig Shearman
(202) 626-8134
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

PayPal and Visa partnership to enhance payment experience online, in app and in store for consumers and merchants in Asia Pacific

Digital partnership will enhance the payment experience online, in app and in store

SINGAPORE, 2017-Apr-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — PayPal (Nasdaq: PYPL) and Visa (NYSE:V) today (April 4, 2017) announced an extension of their U.S. partnership in Asia Pacific that will see them work collaboratively to accelerate the adoption of secure, reliable and convenient digital and mobile payments for consumers and merchants in markets throughout the region.

This partnership makes it easier for Visa issuing banks in Asia Pacific to offer their cardholders the ability to checkout anywhere PayPal is accepted online. It also expands the use of PayPal to retailers that accept Visa in physical locations.

The agreement is an extension of the strategic partnership between PayPal and Visa in the United States, announced in July 2016 and provides joint growth opportunities based on the following:

  • Customer Choice: PayPal and Visa will create a more seamless experience for consumers who choose to pay with their Visa card at retailers that accept PayPal. Through collaboration with Visa bank partners, consumers will be able to easily add Visa cards into PayPal from other banking apps.
  • Digital collaboration: Visa and PayPal agree to extend participation in the Visa Digital Enablement Program (VDEP). VDEP provides Visa’s partners with access to tokenisation technology, which enables payment on mobile phones or any connected device. This will expand the use of PayPal to retailers that accept Visa in physical locations.
  • Joint service propositions for emerging markets: PayPal and Visa will work together to expand access to enable the use of electronic payments in emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Easier and faster access to funds: Visa will provide the option for PayPal to leverage Visa Direct (Visa’s push payments solution), allowing PayPal customers to move funds to their Visa accounts in real time across multiple markets.

“We could not be more proud of our extended partnership agreement with Visa in the Asia Pacific markets,” said Dr. Rohan Mahadevan, Senior Vice President for PayPal Asia Pacific. “This is a strong signal that our decision to partner in 2016 was the right thing to do for PayPal, Visa and our millions of merchants and consumers in this region. We look forward to partnering with Visa to offer more choice and better experiences together online, in app and in store within Asia Pacific.”

“Visa and PayPal are aligning our businesses to bring best in class payment services to the entire ecosystem,” said Chris Clark, Group Executive, Asia Pacific, Visa. “From emerging markets where we’ll give consumers greater access to electronic payments to driving more seamless ways to pay in developed markets, Visa and PayPal will deliver new commerce experiences across the region.”

About PayPal

Fueled by a fundamental belief that having access to financial services creates opportunity, PayPal (Nasdaq: PYPL) is committed to democratizing financial services and empowering people and businesses to join and thrive in the global economy. Our open digital payments platform gives PayPal’s nearly 200 million active account holders the confidence to connect and transact in new and powerful ways, whether they are online, on a mobile device, in an app, or in person. Through a combination of technological innovation and strategic partnerships, PayPal creates better ways to manage and move money, and offers choice and flexibility when sending payments, paying or getting paid. Available in more than 200 markets around the world, the PayPal platform, including Braintree, Venmo and Xoom, enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds in 56 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 25 currencies. For more information on PayPal, visit https://www.paypal.com/about. For PYPL financial information, visit https://investor.PayPal-corp.com.

About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead with prepaid or pay later with credit products. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa, visacorporate.tumblr.com and @VisaNews.

Contact:

PayPal
Yvonne Koh
YvonneKoh@paypal.com
+65 6510 6438
+65 8333 8718

Visa
Jillian Friant
jfriant@visa.com
+65 6671 5388
+65 9030 8381

SOURCE: Visa; PayPal

Rakuten and Telefarm connect consumers with producers of pesticide-free, pesticide-reduced produce

Ensuring stable revenue for producers while also supporting the
development and independence of new farmers

Tokyo, 2017-Apr-06 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. and Telefarm Co., Ltd. today ( April 5, 2017) announced the launch of “Ragri,” an internet-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) service that connects consumers with producers of pesticide-free, pesticide-reduced and other agricultural produce.

CSA is a new framework for agriculture in which producers plant crops based on pre-paid orders placed by consumers for specific produce, thereby facilitating planned production and revenue stabilization. In general, agriculture is greatly affected by the timing and quantities of harvests, price trends and external factors such as the weather. With CSA, the sale and purchase agreements are concluded once consumers’ consent regarding such risks has been obtained.

Ragri is based on the Telefarm Remote Farming service that was operated by Telefarm, in which Rakuten announced it had invested in June 2016. The two companies have collaborated to significantly overhaul the Ragri website and service.

Much of the agricultural produce provided through Ragri places particular emphasis on being pesticide-free or pesticide-reduced, or otherwise organic or specially cultivated produce. Users select the produce and producer from which they want to order, and await the harvest while remotely managing the cultivation of the produce from seed or seedling in virtual fields online. Users are able to check up on how the cultivation of the actual produce is progressing through photographs and comments sent by the producers. Once the produce has reached harvest, it is delivered directly from the farms to the locations designated by the users.

Users will be able to use Ragri via Ragri’s PC and smartphone websites by logging in with their Rakuten membership IDs, and will therefore also be able to use their Rakuten membership IDs to pay their Ragri fees via the Rakuten Pay payment service, meaning it will also be possible to earn and use Rakuten Super Points. Furthermore, in cases where typhoons or other natural disasters make it impossible to carry out the harvest, or in cases where the minimum crop yield set for each crop is not reached, users will be granted Rakuten Super Points with a value equivalent to the cultivation fees paid*1. Rakuten and Telefarm are also exploring enhancements to Ragri’s services in the future such as adding a feature enabling users to communicate with producers, and introducing plans for combining a large number of different vegetable items in small quantities.

In addition to providing a platform connecting consumers and producers, Ragri will also support new farmers. Telefarm has already begun recruiting and training new farmers in Ehime Prefecture, and plans to roll out the program nationwide in the future. Alongside promoting CSA through Ragri, Rakuten and Telefarm are also proactively promoting new agriculture and contributing to resolving challenges such as labor shortages and the growing amount of deserted arable land.

*1 Excludes the seed / seedling fee

About the Ragri service

Name: Ragri
Service launch: April 5, 2017
Fee schedule:
– The first payment comprises of a seed / seedling fee (first time only) and a cultivation fee, which are paid at the time of the agreement
– From the first payment onward, the cultivation fee is paid every 30 days in accordance with the agreement period (*The usage fees and number of payments will differ depending on the type of crop, cultivation period and producer)
– Produce delivery is included in the cultivation fee
Payment method: Rakuten Pay (a payment service that utilizes the Rakuten Member ID and supports a wide variety of credit cards)

Source: Rakuten Inc.

BRP report: Consumers want personalized experience and retailers are focused on improving their personalized services

40% of Retailers Indicate that Personalization is a Top Digitial Priority

Boston, MA, 2017-Apr-03 — /EPR Retail News/ — According to a new special report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), personalization has gone well beyond simple marketing to demographic groups, customer segments or even personas. It is more than simply greeting a customer by name when they walk in the store and it goes beyond merely offering product recommendations on your website. Personalization is not just a trend – it is a critical way for retailers to differentiate their brand to compete against companies like Amazon, according to the BRP SPECIAL REPORT: Personalizing the Customer Experience.

“Consumers’ constant ability to shop and easily research products and prices has made it imperative for retailers – especially those with brick and mortar locations – to find creative ways to entice customers into the store,” said Jeff Neville, vice president, BRP. “The best and most powerful way to do this is through personalization.”

Personalization encapsulates all the details that make your customer’s shopping experience unique to her. It involves knowing your customer and understanding her past purchases and current interests, but it also encompasses how the experience itself meets the customer’s needs for a personalized product or service.

Consumers want a personalized experience and retailers are focused on improving their personalized services. While 40% of retailers indicate they are focused on personalization as a top digital priority, many are not currently offering the personalized services consumers expect. The good news is that retailers have big plans to improve these services over the next few years.

This Special Report provides insight into BRP’s 2016 Digital Commerce Survey, highlighting personalization and the potential methods available for today’s retailers to deliver the optimal customer experience. The three major areas of personalization covered in this report include: personalized in-store experience, curated shopping and personalized products.

To download the complete BRP SPECIAL REPORT: Personalizing the Customer Experience, visit: https://bostonretailpartners.com/2017-brp-special-report-personalization

The Special Report sponsors are NetSuite (platinum), EarthLink (gold), Manhattan Associates (gold), Orckestra (gold) Radial (gold) and Salesforce Commerce Cloud (gold).

About BRP

BRP is an innovative and independent retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience & Engagement | Order Management
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Information Technology | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit www.bostonretailpartners.com.

Contact:

David Naumann
916-673-7757

Source: BRP

NACS survey reveals 85% of consumers say that gas prices affect their feelings about the economy

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-5-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Nearly nine in 10 consumers (85%) say that gas prices affect their feelings about the economy, according to survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).  Gas prices have risen roughly 50 cents per gallon since February.

One in 10 consumers (10%) say that they will drive less over the next 30 days, a time when driving traditionally increases with the unofficial start of the summer drive season.

On average, consumers say they would reduce how much they drive if gas prices rise another $1.02, to $3.61 per gallon.  The $1.02 gap between current prices and the price at which consumers would change their behavior is the lowest recorded this year.

Consumers say that they have noticed rising gas prices. Seven in ten (70%) say gas prices today are higher than they were 30 days ago, which is nearly double the proportion that said so last month (38%). Similarly, seven in ten (72%) consumers expect gas prices to continue to rise over the next 30 days, a significant change compared to April (49%).

Nationwide, economic optimism fell from 52% to 48%. Gas prices had an even bigger impact on optimism in western states such as California where gas prices are averaging up to $1 per gallon more than the national average. Optimism in the West fell from 58% to 47% over the past month and trailed national optimism for the first time since August 2014. And consumers in the West do not expect the situation to get better soon: Nearly four in five (79%) consumers there expect prices to increase this month.

The best indicator of consumer optimism is miles per dollar, which measures consumers’ self-reported fuel efficiency and gas prices. Miles per dollar fell 10% to 8.83, the lowest level in 2015. Miles per dollar has tracked consumer optimism for six of the past seven months.

“While optimism over the economy declined, it is still significantly higher than this time last year when it was only 41%. And because the spring switchover to summer-blend fuel is nearly complete, many analysts suggest that prices will soon moderate,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. “Fuels retailers are certainly optimistic: 86% of our members say that they are optimistic about their business in the second quarter.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,105 gas consumers were surveyed May 5-7, 2015. Summary results are available at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

NACS survey reveals 85 of consumers say that gas prices affect their feelings about the economy

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

NACS: six in ten consumers say gas prices will be higher in 30 days

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-2-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — After a week of rising gas prices, a majority of consumers think that the good times of falling gas prices are over. Almost six in ten consumers (58%) say gas prices will be higher in 30 days, nearly double the proportion who said so a month ago (31%).

Despite rising gas prices, a majority (54%) of consumers are optimistic about the economy, a drop from 57% in January but still the second highest level since January 2013, according to survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Men are significantly more optimistic about the economy than women (66% vs. 53%).

Nearly eight in ten (79%) consumers say that gas prices impact their feelings about the economy. Higher gas prices may affect consumer spending, beginning with travel. The percentage of consumers who say that they will drive more over the next 30 days fell from 24% to 20%. However younger consumers, ages 18-34, are still likely to drive more over the next 30 days, with one in three (33%) indicating so.

Consumers are divided whether they will spend more over the next 30 days. One in six (16%) consumers say that they will spend more on consumer goods over the next 30 days, unchanged from the month prior when gas prices bottomed out. Meanwhile, 19% say that they will spend less.

What will consumers do if gas prices continue to climb? The prolonged period of lower gas prices may have changed consumers’ perceptions about what they consider to be “high prices.” Consumers say that a gas price of $3.50 per gallon would be the level that they would consider reducing the amount that they drive. Nationwide, gas prices averaged $3.50 per gallon as recently as August 2014.

“Consumers remain upbeat about the economy, but there are some concerns for retailers over the coming months and gas prices will likely play a central role,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS’ vice president of strategic initiatives. “The recent increase in prices is clearly affecting consumer sentiment even though gas prices are now equal to what they were a month ago.”

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,102 gas consumers were surveyed February 6-8, 2015. Summary results are at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.